The news sparked a huge outcry among the Singapore public, with many condemning the Transport Ministry, the Land Transport Authority and SMRT for “hiding” the incident.
Of great concern were the apparent safety issues related to cracks found on the train carriages, and the contaminated metal used to build the trains by the Kawasaki-Sifang consortium that won the building contract.
Mr Khaw has responded by saying that the news was hidden from the public to avoid sparking panic, while the LTA has defended its decision to order even more trains from Kawasaki-Sifang despite the defective C151A trains.
This is Factwire’s response to Mr Khaw:
“Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan appeared at the SMRT’s Bishan Depot on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 to explain why “hairline” train cracks were not made public. He is the highest ranking Singapore official to speak about the issue eight days after FactWire’s investigative report revealed the cover up of the train recalls. However, instead of taking responsibility for an incident which has damaged the Singaporean public’s trust in the authorities, the minister blamed the Hong Kong news agency for exposing the cover up of the recalls of defective trains, claiming that Singapore has been used as a “convenient bullet” in a “crossfire” between factions in Hong Kong:
“We are caught in a crossfire and there are factions in Hong Kong who wanted to cause some difficulties for mainland China. I have no inside information on whether that is true or not, but it’s possible. Unfortunately, we become a convenient bullet and collateral damage.”
FactWire deeply regrets the false statements that Singapore’s Transport Minister made against this news agency. Founded by 3,300 Hong Kong people in a journalism crowdfunding campaign that broke records in Asia, FactWire is entirely funded by the public. Thus, it is the public that this new agency serves, independent of any commercial or political interests.
Every investigative report published by FactWire must be founded on impregnable evidence and cover serious public interests at stake. We will never allow commercial or political considerations to override our professional journalistic judgement.
As a news agency committed to serving the public, when public officials are riled by our reporting, it is merely proof that we are doing the right thing.”